TWO YEARS ago Warner Music Philippines launched a new all-female band called General Luna. The contrast was striking, though it seemed a perfect match – the members were all pretty and their group’s name commanded fear and respect.
In one of its early gigs at SaGuijo in Makati, a curious crowd was on hand to check out the band. A few weeks later, a review of that performance came out in the Inquirer: “There was a hint of nervousness as the girls took some time before kicking off their first number. But as the music commenced in a blast of loud, guitar-drenched sonic wall like jet fighters whirring overhead, we thought there might be reason to believe that General Luna is worth the attention.
“Nicole Asencio is no Sampaguita, but the young singer has the attitude to go with her bluesy wails. Caren Mangaran doesn’t have a guitar goddess pose, yet she delivered the riffs that mattered most to the predominantly male audience. Audry Dionisio, the other guitarist, and Alex Montemayor, the bassist, may not be that aggressive yet in their playing, but they certainly knew how to stick to the rhythm. Bea Lao played the drums loud that night, but not so much in a show-off manner, perhaps more in an attempt to emphasize her time-keeping role in a band that’s only starting out — no matter if the girls have had previous experience.”
The band went on to play countless gigs in support of its self-titled debut album. In the course of that period the women of General Luna proved that they had what it takes to be taken seriously.
The time has come for the band to release its second album, “Different Corners,” in which the sound of confidence, maturity and purpose are palpable. This record has more originals written by the band members themselves, although they were still receptive to contributions by friends like Japs Sergio and Ebe Dancel who helped them out in the first album. “Different Corners” points to a clear direction that the band wants to take: more gigs, more challenges, more rock and roll. It may take them to different routes along the way, but the journey itself is its own reward.
In any case, the best way to show our appreciation after listening to the new album is salute General Luna for a job well done.